No breakthrough in NATO-Türkiye talks on Swedish membership

ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) — NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made no breakthrough on Sunday in talks about Sweden joining the military organization with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, officials said. of the two countries to meet in just over a week to try to bridge their differences.

NATO wants to include Sweden when US President Joe Biden and other Allied leaders meet in Lithuania on July 11-12, but Turkey and Hungary have yet to approve the move. All 31 member countries must ratify a candidate’s accession protocol for it to join the transatlantic alliance.

The Turkish government accuses Sweden of being too soft on terrorist organizations and security threats, including Kurdish militant groups and people associated with a 2016 coup attempt. Hungary has also delayed its approval , but the reasons why have not been made public.

“President Erdogan and I agreed today that the Permanent Joint Mechanism should meet again in the week of June 12. Joining will make Sweden safer, but also NATO and Turkey stronger,” he said. Stoltenberg told reporters in Istanbul.

The permanent joint mechanism was set up to address Turkey’s concerns over Sweden and Finland, the latter of which became NATO’s 31st member in April.

“Sweden has fulfilled its obligations” for membership, Stoltenberg said. He noted that the country had amended its constitution, strengthened its anti-terrorism laws and lifted an arms embargo against Turkey since it applied to join NATO just over a year ago.

Fearing Moscow’s target following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, Sweden and Finland abandoned their traditional stances of military non-alignment to seek protection under the security umbrella of the EU. NATO.

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